Cochrane & Associates, LLC

Indoor Air Quality Issues Create a Direct Economic Impact on Society


Source: Cochrane & Associates, LLC

The environmental and building science consultants from EC2 can identify indoor air quality (IAQ) issues that create dangerous health conditions and result in lost productivity.

Quantifying the economic impact of poor indoor air quality is not an easy task to accomplish.  William Fisk, the head of the Indoor Environmental Department at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, working with colleagues released findings related to IAQ, thermal and lighting. 

 Published in the ASHRAE Journal they included some eye opening figures related to the annual economic costs of common respiratory illnesses, including:

  • 180 million lost workdays
  • 120 million additional days of restricted activity
  • $36 billion in healthcare costs
  • $70 billion total cost

The report states that reducing sick building syndrome symptoms could lead to a potential annual savings of $300 per office worker.  It also lists improving worker performance from changes in the thermal environment and lighting would provide $20 to $160 billion in additional annual savings on productivity gains. 

Ed Chambers, the President of EC2, Inc., a Chicago based environmental and building sciences consulting firm, has witnessed close to 5,000 of these types of cases.  “Poor indoor air quality often goes unnoticed in the work environment until something happens to suddenly bring it into the forefront,” reported Mr. Chambers.  “The findings of the Fisk et al study should make people realize the enormous cost to business from poor IAQ.  Proactive efforts on the part of business can directly correlate to not only healthier workers, but also a much healthier bottom line.”


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